10.30.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Our Fall Training in COS starts this Saturday and we would love your prayers!!!!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble. #barclay
 
It’s not the size of the challenges; it’s your view of the challenges life brings you that determines your odds of victory. #furtick
 
Every man knocking on the door of a brothel is looking for God. 

God is knocking on the door of every brothel looking for man.  #bethke
 
If you wanna be a “leader” in the eyes of Jesus, get busy becoming a servant. #johnson
 
FYI:
1. Snapchat among teens gains… https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Snapchats-Status-Among-Teens-Notches-Another-Gain/1016615
 
2. 3 Questions for parents to ask before saying “yes” to another activity… http://michaelkelley.co/2017/10/3-questions-for-parents-to-ask-before-you-say-yes-to-another-activity/
 
3. 4 Ways to Learn Beside Your Kids to Strengthen Their Faith… http://coldcasechristianity.com
 
4. Poem by Annie Flint (below)
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Updated: Are Young People Really Leaving the Church by J. Warner Wallace (Please read! Long but very important!)
Generation Z Under Academic Pressure by Karla Fernandez Parker
The Masked Generation: Five Ways to Build Confidence by Tim Elmore
A Growing Share of Americans Say It’s Not Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral by Gregory Smith

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.youthworker.com/mini-movies/70042/who-i-am-in-christ?utm_source=YouthWorker%20Newsletter%20-%20NEW&utm_medium=email&utm_content=who_i_am_in_christ&utm_campaign=fp-10/24/2017-2257853
 
http://www.worshiphousekids.com/kids-worship-song-tracks/66467/amen?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20-%20Kids&utm_medium=email&utm_content=product1&utm_campaign=nl-10/28/2017-2258799
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Nine Promises for Battling Anxiety – By JOHN PIPER (Thank you Debbie!)
 
“Stop for a moment and think how many different sinful actions and attitudes come from anxiety. Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover over the truth and lie about things. So if anxiety could be conquered, a lot of sins would be overcome.
 
Let us follow the pattern of Jesus and Paul. Today, battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of God. Here are nine of those promises:
 
When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
 
When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
 
When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
 
When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
 
When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approved-ness, and approved-ness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
 
When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
 
When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:8–9).
 
When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).”
 
 
The greatest of virtues

Two essential words deserve special attention– Thank you!

Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies link it with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others; less envious, less materialistic and less self-centered.

Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity. If it came in pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It’s no wonder that God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.

The anxious heart says, “Lord, if only I had this, that, or the other, I’d be okay.” The grateful heart says, “Oh look! You’ve already given me this, that, and the other. Thank you, God.”

Worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude. One heartfelt thank-you will suck oxygen out of worry’s world. So say it often!

 
Poem:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied grace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Blessings, Kendall

10.30.17

Updated: Are Young People Really Leaving the Church by J. Warner Wallace

coldcasechristianity.com

Much has been written about both the Biblical illiteracy of teenage believers and the flight of young people from the Church. Many have observed this trend, and I too have witnessed it anecdotally as a youth pastor (and shamefully, I contributed to the trend for some time before I changed course). Some writers and Christian observers deny the flight of young people altogether, but the growing statistics should alarm us enough as Church leaders to do something about the dilemma. My hope in this post is to simply consolidate some of the research (many of the summaries are directly quoted) so you can decide for yourself. I’m going to organize the recent findings in a way that illuminates the problem:

Research Related to Spiritual Life of Teenagers:

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press, 2005

Book Findings: The majority of teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about their faith, religious beliefs and practices, and its place in their lives. The de facto dominant religion among contemporary U.S. teenagers is what they call ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’: A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth; God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions; the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself; God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem; and good people go to heaven when they die.

Book Findings: Dean affirms what Soul Searching called ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’ “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation.”

Book Findings: More teens are embracing a nebulous belief in God. Yet there’s been an “explosion” in youth service since 1995 that Lewis attributes to more schools emphasizing community service.

The State of Theology
Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research (2015)

Study Findings: In this survey of theological beliefs, researchers asked self-professing Christians to respond to a series of statements related to classic, historic Christian doctrine. In every answer offered related to these theological beliefs, young people between the ages of 18 and 34 consistently held heretical views at a higher percentage than older respondents. Young people who identify themselves as Christians, are far more likely to hold views that aren’t Christian.

Research Related to the Attitude of College Professors:

Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty
Stanley Rothman, S. Robert Lichter, Neil Nevitte (2005)

Study Findings: “Nearly three-quarters” (72%) of faculty members describe themselves as politically liberal, according to 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS), up from 39 percent in a 1984 survey by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Study Findings: About 25% of college professors are professing atheists or agnostics (5-7% of the general population is atheistic or agnostic). Only 6% of college professors said the Bible is “the actual word of God”. 51% described it as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts.” 75% believe religion does not belong in public schools.

The Religious Beliefs and Behavior of College Faculty
The Institute for Jewish & Community Research Review – Staff (2007)

Study Findings: The study revealed several findings related to the political and religious views of professors, including the following key discoveries:

Most Faculty Believe in God, but Atheism Is Significantly More Prevalent among Faculty Than the General Public
The proportion of faculty who self-identified as atheist is over five times the proportion of people who self-identified as atheist in the general public.

Faculty Are Much Less Religious Than the General Public
The American public is much more likely to say that religion is very important in their everyday lives and to attend religious services more frequently than faculty.

Faculty Feel Warmly about Most Religious Groups, but Feel Coldly about Evangelicals and Mormons
Faculty have positive feelings toward Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, and Atheists.

Faculty Feel Most Unfavorably about Evangelical Christians
This is the only religious group about which a majority of non-Evangelical faculty have negative feelings.

Faculty Are Almost Unanimous in Their Belief That Evangelical Christians (Fundamentalists) Should Keep Their Religious Beliefs Out of American Politics
Faculty who are secular/liberal are more likely to favor separation of religion and government, and those who are religious and conservative are more likely to advocate a closer connection between religion and government.

Although Faculty Generally Oppose Religion in the Public Sphere, Many Endorse the Idea That Muslims Should Express Their Religious Beliefs in American Politics
Faculty are far less likely to endorse Evangelical Christians expressing their beliefs in American politics.”

Compromising Scholarship; Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education
George Yancey (2011)

Book Findings: “Religiously conservative academics are at a distinct disadvantage in our institutions of learning, threatening the free exchange of ideas to which our institutions aspire and leaving many scientific inquiries unexplored.”

Research Related to the Decreasing Christian Population in General

American Religious Identification Survey
Barry A. Kosmin, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (2001)

Study Findings: The number of people who identify themselves as Christian has dropped from 85% in 1990 to 76% in 2008. About 52% of American adults identify themselves as Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian denominations, according to the. That’s down from 60% in 1990.

America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: “The percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.”

Gallop Religious Identification Poll
Gallop Daily Tracking, Frank Newport (2015)

Study Findings: While the number of Americans identifying as Christians is still high (75%), it has dropped 5% since 2008

Five Key Findings on Religion in the U.S.
Gallop National Poll (2016)

Study Findings: This national poll about the religious affiliation of Americans revealed the following (among other findings):

1. America remains a largely Christian nation, although less so than in the past. 74% of Americans identify as some form a Christian, only 5% identify as affiliated with a non-Christian religion. when last polled in 2008, 80% of Americans identified themselves as Christian.
2. The trend away from formal religion continues. Approximately 21% of Americans say they are either atheist, agnostic, or have no religious affiliation. This is up 6% since 2008.
3. Americans continue to say that religion is losing its influence in American society. 72% of Americans say that religion is losing its influence on American life.

Research Related to the Flight of Young People from the Church

Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith
Tom Bisset, Discovery House Publishers (1997)

Book Findings: In this very early study, Tom Bisset interviewed people and asked them when, why, and how they abandoned their faith. He identified four prominent reasons:

1. They left because they had troubling, unanswered questions about the faith.
2. They left because their faith was not “working” for them.
3. They left because they allowed other things to take priority.
4. They left because they never personally owned their faith.

Southern Baptist Convention Data
Pinkney, T.C., Remarks to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Nashville, Tennessee (2001)

Study Findings: Data from the Southern Baptist Convention indicates that they are currently losing 70-88% of their youth after their freshman year in college. 70% of teenagers involved in church youth groups stop attending church within two years of their high school graduation.

“The Religiosity Cycle”
Gallop Poll Study (2002)

Study Findings: The results indicate that teens are more religious during their early teen years, and that religiosity begins to decline as teens near adulthood. When asked, “How important are your religious beliefs?”, 63% of 13- to 15-year-olds answered “very important,” compared to 52% of 16- to 17-year-olds. Church attendance also drops during the teen and young adult years and begins to climb as adults age. Fifty-four percent of teens aged 13 to 15 reported having attended church in the past seven days, as did 51% of 16- to 17-year-old teens. The figure drops to 32% among 18- to 29- year-olds but rises again to 44% among 50- to 64-year-olds and 60% among those aged 75 and older. 69% percent of 13- to 15-year-olds report being members of a church or synagogue, compared to 59% of 16- to 17-year-olds, 60% of 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 80% of those aged 75 and older.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council
Southern Baptist Council on Family Life report to Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (2002)

Study Findings:  88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18

Revolution
George Barna, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, IL (2005)

Book Findings: If current trends in the belief systems and practices of the younger generation continue, in ten years, church attendance will be half the size it is today.

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press (2005)

Book Findings: Students leave faith behind primarily because of intellectual doubt and skepticism (page 89). “Why did they fall away from the faith in which they were raised?” This was an open-ended question there were no multiple-choice answers. 32% said they left faith behind because of intellectual skepticism or doubt. (“It didn’t make any sense anymore.” “Some stuff is too far-fetched for me to believe.” “I think scientifically and there is no real proof.” “Too many questions that can’t be answered.”)

Study Findings: A majority of twenty-somethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged.

The Last Christian Generation
Josh McDowell,  David H. Bellis, Green Key Books (2006)

Book Findings: 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity. Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.

Assemblies of God Study
Dayton A. Kingsriter (2007)

Study Findings: At least half and possibly over two-thirds of Christian young people will step away from the Christian faith while attending a non-Christian college or university. Between 50% and 66.7% of Assemblies of God young 
people who attend a non-Christian public or private university will have left the faith 
four years after entering college.

LifeWay Research Study
LifeWay Research and Ministry Development (2007)

Study Findings: 70% will leave the faith in college. Only 35% eventually return. 7 in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23. 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church. “The most frequent reason for leaving church is, in fact, a self-imposed change, ‘I simply wanted a break from church’ (27%).” “The path toward college and the workforce are also strong reasons for young people to leave church: ‘I moved to college and stopped attending church’ (25%) and ‘work responsibilities prevented me from attending’ (23%).”

Unchristian
Barna Research Group director David Kinnaman, Baker Books; (2007)

Book Findings: Christians in their 20s are “significantly less likely to believe a person’s faith in God is meant to be developed by involvement in a local church. This life stage of spiritual disengagement is not going to fade away.”

Rethink: Is Student Ministry Working?
Steve Wright, InQuest Ministries, Inc. (2007)

Book Findings: 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths. 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity. 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity

Religious and Political Self-Identification, 1990-2008
Barry A. Kosmin & Juhem Navarro-Rivera (2008)

Study Findings: This research, based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008, addresses the religious beliefs and behaviors of those born from the early to mid-1960s to the late 1970s to early 1980s:

1. Generation X has weakened its ties to Christianity (85% in 1990 v. 75% in 2008)
2. Generation X has secularized over time. In 1990 11% were Nones compared to16% in 2008; 13% of Generation X did not identify with a religion (including Don’t Know and refusals) in 1990, compared to 21% in 2008
3. Generation X Christian groups became more female dominated over time (with the exception of the Protestant Sects) while the Nones and Other Religions became more male dominated.

Book Findings: Among American adults, emerging adults are significantly less religious.
Generally speaking, the importance and practice of religion declines among young adults. No more than 15% of the total emerging adult population, embrace a strong religious faith. 30% tend to customize their faith to fit the rest of their lives. They often have strong religious upbringing but tend to be more discriminating about what they will adopt. A smaller group, about 15%, believe in some higher power but are not sure what that is or means. About 25% of the emerging adult population may claim to be religious or even appreciate religion—but it simply does not matter. 5% of all emerging adults have had little to no exposure to religious people, ideas, or organizations. 10% of emerging adults are  skeptical of religion and reject the idea of personal faith. They tend to hold critical, derogatory, and antagonistic attitudes towards religion.

Book Findings: 90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores on college.

Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it
Ken Ham, Britt Beemer, with Todd Hillard, New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (2009)

Book Findings: Church youth already are “lost” in their hearts and minds in elementary, middle and high school – not in college as many assume.

Book Findings: “Unless religious leaders take younger adults more seriously, the future of American religion is in doubt.” The proportion of young adults identifying with mainline churches, is “about half the size it was a generation ago. Evangelical Protestants have barely held their own.”

“Spirituality in Higher Education”: The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA
Alexander W. Astin, Helen S. Astin, and Jennifer A. Lindholm (2010)

Study Findings: 52% of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college but only 29% continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.

College Transition Project
The Fuller Youth Institute (2010)

Study Findings: Current data seems “to suggest that about 40-50% of students in youth groups struggle in their faith after graduation.”

Book Findings: The departure of young people from the Church is acknowledged and several categories of “leavers” are identified, including “Post Modern Leavers”, “Recoilers”, “Modern Leavers”, “Neo Pagans”, “Rebels” and “Drifters.

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith
David Kinnaman, Baker Books (2011)

Book Findings: Nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15.

Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood
Christian Smith with Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog, Oxford University Press (2011)

Book Findings: Young adults are unable to think coherently about moral beliefs and problems. Young adults have an excessive focus on consumption and materialism as the good life. The prevalent lifestyle of young adults includes routine intoxication and drug usage. The sexual encounters of young adults are not practiced in an environment of physical, mental, or emotional health. Young adults appear to have an inability to care about, invest in, and hope for the larger world through civic and political participation.

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity
Larry Taunton, Fixed Point Foundation (2013)

Study Findings: Taunton interviewed members of atheist college groups (the Secular Student Alliance and Freethought Societies). “These college groups are the atheist equivalents to Campus Crusade: They meet regularly for fellowship, encourage one another in their (un)belief, and even proselytize. They are people who are not merely irreligious; they are actively, determinedly irreligious.” Taunton eventually recognized an emerging pattern in those he interviewed, and he identified several characteristics of young “determinedly irreligious” college students:

1. They had attended church at one time
2. The mission and message of their churches was vague
3. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions
4. They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously
5. Ages 14-17 were decisive
6. The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one
7. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect With Them
George Barna and David Kinnaman, Tyndale Momentum (2014)

Book Findings: Barna Group conducted tens of thousands of interviews with unchurched people and discovered the following:

1. The number of churchless Americans has jumped by nearly one-third in just 20 years
2. If unchurched Americans were their own nation, they’d be the eighth largest on Earth
3. The younger you are, the more likely you are to never have been to church
4. The younger the generation, the more post-Christian it is

America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: “While many U.S. religious groups are aging, the unaffiliated are comparatively young – and getting younger, on average, over time… One of the most important factors in the declining share of Christians and the growth of the “nones” is generational replacement. As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations. Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33)… As a rising cohort of highly unaffiliated Millennials reaches adulthood, the median age of unaffiliated adults has dropped to 36, down from 38 in 2007 and far lower than the general (adult) population’s median age of 46.4 By contrast, the median age of mainline Protestant adults in the new survey is 52 (up from 50 in 2007), and the median age of Catholic adults is 49 (up from 45 seven years earlier).”

Choosing a New Church or House of Worship
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: In this seemingly unrelated study, researchers surveyed religious “nones” (78%) who said they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood, and asked them to explain, in their own words, whythey no longer identified with a religious group. They discovered the following themes:

About 50% said a “lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention ‘science’ as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said ‘I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.’ Others reference ‘common sense,’ ‘logic’ or a ‘lack of evidence’ – or simply say they do not believe in God.”

About 20% said they were in “opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.”

About 18% said they were “religiously unsure. This include(d) people who (said) they (were) religious in some way despite being unaffiliated (e.g., ‘I believe in God, but in my own way’), others who describe(d) themselves as ‘seeking enlightenment’ or ‘open-minded,’ and several who (said) they are ‘spiritual’ if not religious.”

About 10% said they “may hold certain religious beliefs, but they (were) not currently taking part in religious practices. And most of them simply (said) they (didn’t) go to church or engage in other religious rituals, while others (said) they (were) too busy for religion.”

Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back
Betsy Cooper, Ph.D., Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones, Ph.D., Public Religious Research Institute (2016)

Study Findings: “Today, nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated—three times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older). While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation. Among young adults, the religiously unaffiliated dwarf the percentages of other religious identifications: Catholic (15%), white evangelical Protestant (9%), white mainline Protestant (8%), black Protestant (7%), other non-white Protestants (11%), and affiliation with a non-Christian religion (7%).”

“In the 1970s, only about one-third (34%) of Americans who were raised in religiously unaffiliated households were still unaffiliated as adults. By the 1990s, slightly more than half (53%) of Americans who were unaffiliated in childhood retained their religious identity in adulthood. Today, about two-thirds (66%) of Americans who report being raised outside a formal religious tradition remain unaffiliated as adults.”

More importantly, the study found that most Americans who leave their childhood religion do so before reaching adulthood. 79% percent of young adults age 18 to 29 who become religiously unaffiliated report making this decision during their adolescent and teen years. In years prior, those who abandon religious belief reported doing so much later. Only 38% of people over the age of 65, for example, reported leaving their religion during their childhood years.

CARA National Study
Mark M. Gray, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (2016)

Study Findings: (While CARA only surveys young Catholic believers, their results parallel the findings of Christian surveys as reported in this article). “The first CARA study, commissioned by Saint Mary’s Press, involved a survey with a random, national sample of young people, ages 15 to 25, who had been raised Catholic but no longer self-identified as such. The second CARA study, made possible through funding from the John Templeton Foundation, involved a survey of a random sample of self-identified Catholics, ages 18 and older, and focused on matters of religion and science.” Most young people said they left the Church by the age of 13: 63 percent said they left between the ages of 10 and 17. 23 percent say they left before the age of 10. Those who left cited the following reasons:

“Because I grew up realized it was a story like Santa or the Easter Bunny.”

“As I learn more about the world around me and understand things that I once did not, I find that the thought of an all-powerful being to be less and less believable.”

“Catholic beliefs aren’t based on fact. Everything is hearsay from back before anything could be documented, so nothing can be disproved, but it certainly shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

“I realized that religion is in complete contradiction with the rational and scientific world, and to continue to subscribe to a religion would be hypocritical.”

“Need proof of something.”

“It no longer fits into what I understand of the universe.”

NextGen Research
Larry Barnett, Next Generation Project (2016)

Study Findings: The NextGen research revealed the following key points:

1. Christianity’s decline in the U.S. spans every population segment – young and old, male and female, within every race, at all income and educational levels, and in every geographic region.
2. The presence or absence of doubt was found to be the single best predictor of Christian affiliation and spiritual health, compared to several hundred other factors.
3. Adults (and teens) who are younger, highly educated, knowledgeable, high-achieving, technologically engaged individuals who may have religiously diverse friends are the most likely to leave the faith.

CIRP Freshman Survey
The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (2017)

Study Findings: The CIRP Freshmen Survey of first-time students at 184 U.S. colleges and universities collects data on incoming college students’ background characteristics, high school experiences, attitudes, behaviors, and expectations for college. This survey revealed the following key points:

31 percent of incoming freshmen are religiously unaffiliated, a threefold increase since 1986, when just 10 percent identified this way. Because the survey is administered to students before they arrive on campus, the decline of religious identity noted in these cross-sectional studies cannot be attributed to college experience. Religious attendance is also falling precipitously among incoming students.

While this survey of books and studies is less than complete, it does provide us with powerful cumulative, circumstantial evidence supporting the claim that young people are leaving the Church in large numbers. More importantly, it appears that most of these young people are leaving prior to their experiences in college. But, while universities may not be the chief cause of the youth exodus, they certainly play a role in affirming and strengthening a secular worldview in the minds of young people who have already left the faith. Some studies have attempted to isolate potential responses that can be employed by parents and Church leaders:

Research Related to Potential Responses to the Flight of Young People from the Church

Book Findings: There appears to be no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the version of Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.” Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. “We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy. “…The gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy. It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions: Why are my parents getting a divorce? Why did my best friend commit suicide? Why, in this economy, can’t I get the good job I was promised if I was a good kid?”

Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults
Christian Smith, Patricia Snell, Oxford University Press (2009)

Book Findings: Parents are the most crucial and powerful socializers in the lives of their adolescents. The adolescent years are not the time to disengage as a parent. Growing adolescent independence often necessitates negotiation. If adolescents experience parents who are religiously withdrawn and functionally absent, then the faith of an emerging adult likely will also be vacuous, directionless, and empty. The more adults involved in the lives of adolescents, the better off they will be. This will mean that ministries to youth and families must find ways to incorporate loving, agenda-free adults into the lives of the ministry. Ministries to youth matter now more than ever. With the breakdown of the family and the systemic erosion of adult support, congregational youth ministers are more necessary than ever before.

Book Findings: Parents of students who did not leave the church emphasized religion twice as much as those who students who left the church. Students who stayed in church through college said that the first thing they do when they have doubts or questions was to talk to their parents and then read their Bibles.

Book Findings: Nearly 25% of the 18- to 29-year-olds interviewed said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” most of the time. 22% also said the church ignores real-world problems and 18% said that their church was too concerned about the negative impact of movies, music and video games. 33% of survey participants felt that “church is boring.” 20% of those who attended as a teenager said that God appeared to be missing from their experience of church. Many young adults do not like the way churches appear to be against science. Over 33% of young adults said that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” and 25% of them said that “Christianity is anti-science.” 17% percent of young Christians say they’ve “made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them.” Two out of five young adult Catholics said that the church’s teachings on birth control and sex are “out of date.” 29% of young Christians said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths” and feel they have to choose between their friends and their faith. Over 33% of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church and 23% said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith.

Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations
Vern L. Bengtson. Norella M. Putney, Susan Harris, Oxford University Press (2013)

Book Findings: Several key findings were discovered in this 35-year study of families, focusing on the question of how religion is passed across generations:

1. Parents continue to be the single greatest influence on their children’s faith.
2. When a child sees and hears that faith actually makes a difference in Mom and Dad’s lives, they’re much more likely to follow suit.
3. Young adults are more likely to share their parents’ religious beliefs and participation if they feel that they have a close relationship with those parents.
4. Young Christians who leave the faith are far more likely to return when parents have been patient and supportive – and perhaps more tolerant and open than they had been before the prodigal’s departure.

5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church
Barna Study (2013)

Study Findings: This research included a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by Barna Group to find the most effective ways to keep millennials connected to the church. The listed the following strategies:

1. Develop meaningful relationships with millennials
2. Teach millennials to study and discern what’s happening in the culture
3. Help millennials discover their own mission in the world, rather than ask them to wait their turn
4. Teach millennials a more potent theology of vocation, or calling.
5. Help millennials develop a lasting faith by facilitating a deeper sense of intimacy with God

There you have it; a short summary of some of the research being done on the exodus of young people from the Church and some of the reasons they give for their departure. Can a case be made that young Christians are leaving the Church in record numbers? Yes. Can a case be made that many of these young people are leaving because the culture around them has impacted them deeply and caused them to question the truth claims of Christianity? Yes, again. So, what are we going to do about it? What can be done? Visit our Youth section to get a few ideas.

10.30.17

A Growing Share of Americans Say It’s Not Necessary to Believe in God to be Moral by Gregory Smith

pewresearch.org

Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011. This increase reflects the continued growth in the share of the population that has no religious affiliation, but it also is the result of changing attitudes among those who doidentify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants.

Surveys have long shown that religious “nones” – those who describe themselves religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – are more likely than those who identify with a religion to say that belief in God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality. So the public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious “nones.”

Indeed, the growth in the share of Americans who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality tracks closely with the growth in the share of the population that is religiously unaffiliated. In the 2011 Pew Research Center survey that included the question about God and morality, religious “nones” constituted 18% of the sample. By 2017, the share of “nones” stood at 25%.

But the continued growth of the “nones” is only part of the story. Attitudes about the necessity of belief in God for morality have also changed among those who do identify with a religion. Among all religiously affiliated adults, the share who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality ticked up modestly, from 42% in 2011 to 45% in 2017.

Among white evangelical Protestants, 32% now say belief in God is not necessary to have good values and be a moral person, up from 26% who said this in 2011. To be sure, most white evangelicals still say belief in God is necessary for morality. But the share who say belief in God is a necessary underpinning of being moral has declined from 72% to 65% in just six years.

Religious “nones” themselves, in addition to growing as a share of the population, have simultaneously become more likely to reject the idea that believing in God is necessary for morality. In 2017, 85% of religious “nones” say belief in God is unnecessary for morality, up from 78% who said this in 2011.

The trends in opinion on this question also point in the same direction among white mainline Protestants, black Protestants and white Catholics. Recent changes among these groups, however, have not been statistically significant.

10.23.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:

As Culture, Media, and school Campuses Move Further from Christian Values Students will require Daily Discipleship to Survive Adolescence. #powell

As long as we think we are not that bad, the idea of grace will never change us. #keller
The highest call of leadership is to unlock the potential of others. #brown
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. #churchill
 
FYI:
1. The Stress of Eating Lunch at School… http://www.seventeen.com/health/a10326983/10-teens-get-real-about-the-stress-of-eating-lunch-at-school/
UGH!
 
3. Juuling: Cigarettes for the next Generation… http://theroar.marincatholic.org/1955/opinion/juuling-cigarettes-for-the-next-generation/
 
4.  Are Today’s Teens Putting the Brakes on Adulthood?… https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/are-today-s-teens-putting-the-brakes-on-adulthood-726634.html
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
9 Leadership Principles You Need to Know by Todd Jones
The Movement That’s Changing the Way We Teach Kids by Dale Hudson
Five Steps to Fight Fake News by Tim Elmore
Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens by Anya Kamenetz

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70315/jesus-you-alone?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=jesus_you_alone-2255633&utm_campaign=fp-10/21/2017-2255633
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/68936/only-one-worship-intro?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=only_one_worship_intro-2255633&utm_campaign=fp-10/21/2017-2255633
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Who Are You? 
 
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:7 (ESV)
“Who are you?” This is one of the most foundational questions anyone can ask, and one with which our culture seems largely obsessed. We long for significance, for meaning, for something unique and special and elite to be true of us. I think this is largely why we are so fascinated by things like a DNA genetics test or ancestry searches. We hope to find something that sets us apart from everyone else. We don’t go hunting to find that our ancestors were from Kansas!
Though genetic testing wasn’t available in Paul’s day, ancestry was still a big deal. Everyone knew where they came from, and that linage meant everything to them. It shaped their levels of influence, passed on power and prestige, and made them someone worthy of affection and attention. Paul checked every box in every category of desired identity for the Jewish people. As he essentially says, “just try and find anyone more perfectly Jewish than me” (Philippians 3:4)!
And yet, he says in the same breath that every single bit of this is now loss and something to freely let go of if it means he is able to know and be known by Christ. This isn’t hyperbole for him or a compelling illustration from a preacher trying to drive a point home. He had lots of gains, and lots to lose!
The more status, wealth, or knowledge you acquire, the harder it is to keep it from becoming a part of your core identity. These identities creep closer and closer to our hearts, becoming foundational and essential parts of our identity. “Who are you?” “I’m from a great family, wealthy, and well educated.” It comes out of us without even thinking! And if this isn’t your story, the danger still persists in the way you might aspire to such levels of success and status. “Who are you?” “I’m working on becoming someone significant and worthy of praise!”
Paul’s words remind us today of one of the greatest truths in the whole Bible. To find your true identity and purpose in life, you must reorient your core identity around Jesus. This is true of every single disciple, whether you have a great deal or very little at all.
The LORD wants to set you free from the identities that promise to give you meaning yet always break that promise and leave you confused and unfulfilled. Encounter the love of Jesus afresh today, and receive a new identity as a beloved daughter or son. That is who you truly are, and it is worth losing everything else in order to gain it!
Prayer: Father, thank you for the amazing love poured out in Jesus Christ. May he be my all in all today and everyday. Amen.
Application: What identity are you still clinging to that’s keeping you from stepping into the joy of Christ today?
Learning to Live Like Jesus
According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21, NKJV 
Without reading glasses all I see is a blurred semblance of letters, words and sentences. My 2X readers magnify the print and bring into focus what my aged eyes alone are unable to see. The writings of a good book are always present, but only apparent with the assistance of glasses. In a similar fashion, Jesus is ever at work in and around me, but at times it may only be apparent when I see it magnified by another Jesus follower. A life surrendered to the Lord brings into focus what only seems like a blur in my unbelief. Christ magnified in a life brings clarity and comprehension.
Paul pours forth his earnest desire, expectation and hope to not be ashamed of the gospel, but with boldness to show and tell the truth of Jesus Christ. In life he magnified the Lord by living for the Lord. Paul suffered imprisonment and the intense pain of shipwrecks, suffering and beatings at the hands of persecutors. What he, as an unbeliever, inflicted on believers, he now received the same interrogation and affliction. In shackles he magnified Jesus with joyful praise lifted to the Lord throughout the jail. Paul’s words and way of life focused in on faith in Jesus.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
What does it mean to magnify Christ in our body? How do we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ? Our body language can fluently communicate faith in Christ or it can become a confusing dialect of the devil’s devices. A smile is an invitation into a safe place, while a blank stare screams I don’t care. Eye contact and calling another’s name says you matter, you are unique and I want to know you. Learning to live like Jesus starts with a look, a listening heart and a caring word. Our body language can turn up the volume of the Lord’s tender voice.
Learning to live like Jesus is a lesson in being with Jesus, both in solitude and in community. You get alone with the Lord so He can prep you to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Lord. As you reflect on the life of Christ, being transformed by the inner workings of grace, your life begins to reflect Christ. Before you go out to represent Jesus, you must go in to be molded by Jesus. You can be assured God is with you and He grows even more apparent in the presence of other Jesus followers. You learn to live like Jesus by being with Jesus and His people.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to live a life worthy of the gospel, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Application: How can my life best magnify Christ with my words and actions?
Blessings, Kendall

10.16.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Monica, Nancy, Michael and I are headed to LA today and would love your prayers!
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
WWJP: “What would Jesus Post?” (Bracelets coming soon) #johnston (Haha!)
Your praise is contagious – So is your complaint. What are you carrying today? #furtick
God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we’re doing for Christ as He is committed to forming Christ inside us. #voskamp
“If your life does not worship God, your lips do not worship God either.” #Tozer
 
 
FYI:
 
 
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield (Blog post but some good data.)
Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore (Interesting!)
3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore (You know this but still good!)
What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70470/the-one-who-died-for-all?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2249484&utm_campaign=nl-10/11/2017-2249484
(I’m playing this at training! Zo and Jon… start learning your moves!!
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

Alarm Bells for Leaders

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:7-10)

We can’t pull a fast one on God. He sees all and cannot be deceived. He notices our shortcuts and also our efforts when we do well. To ensure that we live by this truth, seek others to hold you accountable and act as your “alarm bells.” Invite others to ask you tough questions, such as the following:

  • Is my personal walk with God up-to-date?
  • Am I keeping my priorities straight?
  • Am I asking myself the hard questions?
  • Am I accountable to someone in authority?
  • Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the whole body of Christ?
  • Am I over-concerned with building my image?
  • Do I put more stock in “events” rather than “process”?
  • Am I a loner in my leadership and personal life?
  • Am I aware and honest about my weaknesses?
  • Is my calling constantly before me?
Learning to Lead Like Jesus
 
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Learning to lead like Jesus is a lifetime journey that begins with humility. “Better to say I am learning, than to say, I have learned,” wise and humble words indeed from Dr. Charles Stanley spoken to me and several staff members at First Baptist of Atlanta in the late 1980’s. As a young pastor, this seasoned leader helped me understand to first follow the Lord Jesus by continuing to learn and grow. For example, don’t say “I’ve learned to be a patient leader”, rather, “I’m learning to be a patient leader”. This reminded me to be a humble, teachable and ever-growing leader who is desperately in need of God’s grace to carry out my responsibilities.
Learning to lead like Jesus is for leaders who desperately need the Holy Spirit’s direction, the Father’s wisdom and the Son’s encouragement. Leaders who are learning to first follow Jesus, learn well. Learning to lead is a lifelong education. We never graduate from Christ leadership school, but we do advance as we become wiser students through our own struggles, failures and successes.
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister, and call understanding your kinsman” (Proverbs 7:4).
Wise leaders are learners, but if they stop learning they cease to lead wisely. Leaders who learn ask the right questions, get the most accurate answers, and are able to make the wisest decisions. “How can I get out of the way as the leader, and support the team to be successful?” “How can our organization go from good to great by integrating and sustaining best practices?” The Lord can’t wait to pour out wisdom on earnest and humble hearts seeking to gain what only He gives.
James, the brother—who experienced first hand Jesus’ wise words and actions— defined wisdom in this way: “But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile” (James 3:17, Amplified Bible).
Before Steve Jobs died, wouldn’t it have been wonderfully insightful and inspiring to ask him about the pinnacle of his creation: the Apple iPhone? Seriously, if we wanted understanding into the motivation for and the purpose of his world-changing invention, Steve would be the logical starting point. What was he thinking? What motivated his perfectionism? What was his vision?
In the same way, why not first seek wisdom from the Lord of creation whose majestic exclamation point was humanity—you and me? Doesn’t it make sense to learn how to think from the Divine who molded our mind? Understand how to care for our bodies from the One who perfectly meshed billions of unique cells into a living being? Or engage the heart of God to feel and express the emotions He embedded into our heart, soul and spirit? Wisdom from our Maker makes us more like Him and less like foolish inferior idols. We learn to lead like Jesus by looking to Jesus!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to learn to lead like Your son, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: What specific area of my leadership needs to grow more into the likeness of Jesus?
Blessings, Kendall

10.16.17

3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore

youthspecialties.com

Youth ministry is coming to an era where small groups are vital to the success and longevity of students in ministry. They provide relationships for students, and if done well can create a bond of friends and a mentor (small group leader) who are inseparable. I recently realized that a lot of the success of the group depends on the leader’s ability to facilitate discussion. Some leaders are incredibly gifted at this and others really have to work at it. I’ve developed three huge tips for leading healthy and vital discussion in small groups.

1. BE INCREDIBLY INTENTIONAL ABOUT HOW YOU READ SCRIPTURE.

This may seem rather small and unimportant. But if students can’t understand any of the Scripture you are reading your entire discussion and study will be inadequate. What I mean by this is if you are reading the Bible in any context of your group, pay close attention to how they can focus on what you all are covering. I generally tell our leaders, never have students read one verse at a time in a circle. Because no one is listening, they are just staring at their verse waiting for their turn. It ends up completely futile, and most times leaders need to reread it for them to understand anyway.

Furthermore, if you have a student read the entire passage and its more than a few verses, remember 2 things.

  1. Make sure they can read well. I know it seems kind to include everyone in reading, but if a student is really struggling reading it is going to distract the whole group. It doesn’t mean exclude them, just have them engage in the study in a different way than reading the passage.
  2. Cut in during verses that are troublesome or take a timeout from the verses if there has been a lot said. Don’t just plow through 15 verses for the sake of getting it done, because most times students won’t remember anything because they are so blasted with information. If you want them to discuss and wrestle with the Scriptures you must be intentional about the delivery and form of how they will hear and understand it.

2. LEAD THE GROUP.

Don’t forget to be confident within the small group. Students want to see that you are confident AND passionate about the study and the students. If they can tell that you are just showing up, they won’t focus or engage nearly as well. Leading a small group is all about setting the tone and the environment for students to feel safe and comfortable. It creates an opportunity to share and grow together. You need to speak into the discussion as if you were a student yourself. When I lead a group, I almost always find a way to inject my own personal “wrestlings” within the discussion.

For example, if we talk about the friendship between David and Jonathan, I would say something in the discussion like: “I have a really hard time making close guy friends like Jonathan and David because I feel like no one values it or supports the idea of it. I just am personally struggling with the thought of how I can invite close guy friendships into my life…”

When you give a little bit of yourself to the group, students can realize that you are human just like them, and you aren’t this flawless, perfect, Bible-scholar of a robot. Because no one wants to be in a group with a perfect robot. The greatest thing that you have to offer in small groups is yourself.

3. ALLOW FOR PURPOSEFUL VARIANCE.

Now I know that “purposeful variance” may seem like an oxymoron, but stay with me here. Often times leaders will ask a question or want feedback from students in the group and you will have this student who just says something completely wrong or borderline heresy. Our instinct as leaders is to immediate cover up their wrong answer and correct them with the right one. By doing this, we don’t allow for students to wrestle and to question, we just shove answers down their throat. So allow for variance in that you allow a wrong answer and direct it to the thoughts of other students.

For example, Johnny answers the question “What do we have to do to receive the gift of salvation?” by saying “I think you just need to be a good person. You don’t really need to accept Jesus, but just live a good lifestyle.” Immediately in your brain, your red flag goes up, but here is how you handle this. You say “Hmm, well why do you say that?” and he will explain, then you say “Well what do you all think of that?”  Engage the entire group in wrestling with this.

It seems as Christian leaders, we are so fearful of being wrong or wrestling that we just brush it all under the rug when in reality we are dying to ask seemingly dumb questions or prod a concept deeper that no one wanted to let us talk about. When you engage the group in a conversation they are able to wrestle through it together, and they will take ownership of what they are learning and discussing as opposed to you just laying down the law on them. I’m not saying that you don’t instill any type of doctrine and solid theology in them, but don’t be so quick to grab the reigns and choke the variance that may be healthy for questioning students, especially high schoolers (You may have to be a little tighter with middle schoolers).

You can also allow variance by breaking the routine. Maybe you pick a certain student to read the passage or you let a quiet student know that he is going to have to answer this question in a few minutes. Don’t always assume that having everyone go around in a circle and answer is the best philosophy. Some internal processors are going to be terrified because they don’t have time to externalize their thoughts. Allow for the silence. Leave room in your group for the Holy Spirit to work in ways you would never have planned for or deemed imaginable. Loosen your grip on the schedule of the group, and allow variance, because it will truly allow students to feel open and vulnerable.

As a final word, please note that every small group is different! Gender, age, demographics, size, and leaders all can change the dynamic. But these three tips work for most groups you’ll encounter and have led to great success in any type of ministry I’ve been entrusted with. If you have other ideas/questions, I would love to know about them! Youth ministry is ALWAYS changing, and if we aren’t always learning we will fall behind.

10.09.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
We can only hope for what we desire. #cslewis
 
Your view about how the world will end affects how you live today. #furtick
 
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. #Elliot
 
If you are not entertaining God’s truth, you will be entertaining Satan’s lies. You do not have the option of a neutral mind. #Willard
 
 
FYI:
1. Videos that are free to download… https://thebibleproject.com (Thank you, Annie!)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
What Do You Do When Your Self-Worth is Challenged? by Alex McElroy (Interesting thoughts on helping students with self esteem.)
Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson
Biggest Changes Generation Z Brings to the Adult World by Tim Elmore
Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story by Josh Shipp
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

A new youtube site with some great videos… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmO1sDtd5024JJ7rBY7nWMg
Check out two of them…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBJFiMPTzM4
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtoevOdB7m0
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Growing a Greater Faith 

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:8-9

To the degree, I submit to authority is the extent to which my faith grows. For example, I may not agree with or even like the decision-making process at work, but I can still trust those who have authority over me. Trust is the highest form of relational health, with it I am able to gladly follow my superior’s lead, without it I struggle to stay loyal. Most of all, I can trust the Lord’s authority and by grace remain submitted to Him and His will with a spirit of humble, grateful faith. Pride bows up against being told what to do, but humility willingly submits, trusts and obeys. 

Remarkably, a Roman soldier who commanded 100 men found great favor in the eyes of the Lord. A non-Jewish protector of the people, with the full support of the Jewish elders– in the past this military leader leveraged his influence, resources, and man-power to construct the local synagogue. In today’s terms, the centurion helped build the local church, though he did not attend church. This man’s goodwill was not forgotten when his most valuable servant fell deathly ill. Motivated by gratitude, the religious leaders and friends asked Jesus to heal him. 

Jesus did. Why? Because of the great faith of the humble leader, “Say the word,” knowing a word from Christ can heal. This military man was familiar with giving commands and being under command. Since the centurion trusted and followed the authorities over him, so his subordinates had faith in his leadership. Jesus compliments the Roman leader’s faith and character as a model of what being under God’s sovereign power looks like. Great faith is the result of humble submission to authority with the fruit of obedience, gratitude, and generosity.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority” (1 Peter 2:13).

Have you totally surrendered your life to the authority of Almighty God? The truth of His Word trumps other contemporary opinions. One indicator of submission to the Lord is submission to the authorities He has over your life: government, church, a work supervisor or your spouse. Even when you experience an unfair authority, you are called to carry yourself with the spirit of Christ. Your faith grows to the degree you trust that the Holy Spirit is at work–knowing your part is to remain faithful, especially in the small things. Humble submission grows great faith.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to trust Your authority and the authorities You have placed over my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Application: To what authority do I need to totally surrender, trusting the Holy Spirit is at work?

 
Attitude Adjustment

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.   Ezra 6:22

 

Attitude is everything; it can lift you up or bring you down. It is a barometer of your heart. If your heart is not right, your attitude will suffer. Attitude is critical because it influences your course of action. If your attitude is negative, your words and behavior will be too. There is a difference in being a realist about negative circumstances, and living with a chronic bad attitude. Naïve are those who ignore warning signs of trouble, and carry on oblivious to the storm clouds of sin.

However, your attitude is rooted in who you are in Christ, so there is no need to be fearful, guilty, or insecure. The attitude that Jesus exhibited was one of humility and servant leadership. His attitude reflected submission to His heavenly Father, which resulted in service, generosity, and love for people. Jesus was joyful and hopeful, because He rested in the will of God. Do not allow another’s bad attitude to influence yours. Be the attitude influencer instead. Greet a frown with a smile, crush criticism with affirmation, and listen patiently until fury loses its steam. A positive attitude will eventually outlast and overpower a negative one. Most of all, pray for those who thrive on negativity. Pray for them to be set free from their hurt, anger, guilt, and insecurity. God has you in their lives to reflect the Almighty and to encourage an attitude adjustment through Him.

God is the genesis of a right attitude, and He is the right attitude sustainer. He wants His attitude to be our attitude. This is why you need a daily attitude alignment from your heavenly Father. Each day, your attitude gets knocked around and abused by life. If left unattended, your attitude will drift into wrong thinking, harsh words, and bad behavior. Self-pity and anger can begin to replace selflessness and forgiveness. With just a little bit of daily tweaking, your attitude stays in line with His. It is subtle, but sometimes attitudes need to be adjusted moment by moment.

Lastly, slow down and pray when you feel your attitude eroding. When you’re in the midst of a bad attitude, don’t make important decisions; the time isn’t right for that. You will regret every decision you make during a time of emotional upheaval. Be patient, and wait until your anger has subsided, your heart is cleansed, and your attitude is objective. Almighty God is into attitudes that trust Him and reach out to others with compassion and understanding. Open-minded and reasonable attitudes lead to rich and robust relationships. Anyone can be negative; so don’t be anyone, be different. Allow God to shape your attitude on the anvil of His heart.

An attitude molded by God is infectious and transforming. Allow Him to change yours, and then trust Him to change another’s. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

Post/Tweet today: Attitude is everything; it can lift us up or bring us down. It is a barometer of our heart. #wisdomhunters

Blessings, Kendall

10.02.17

Hi! Happy October!! OCTOBER????? Haha! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Our job is to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. #elmore
When you feel stretched, it’s a setup for God’s strength. #furtick
Don’t worry about finding your purpose. If you are seeking after God, your purpose will find you. #evans
Being odd for the sake of Jesus is the highest of callings. It’s living an odd life marked by love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility and self-sacrifice. #fields
 
 
FYI:
1. 10 Things to Say When Your Child Says They Don’t Believe in God Anymore…
http://christianmomthoughts.com/10-things-to-say-when-your-child-says-they-dont-believe-in-god-anymore/#more-8114
 
2. Teen Trouble… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/teen-trouble-take-quiz/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=70d98c1e72-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-70d98c1e72-126726953
3. 12 Prayers for when you are anxious by Max Lucado
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
4 Passionate Desires of a Good Leader’s Heart by Brandon Cox
Today’s Kids Are Not Yesterday’s Kids by Dale Hudson (Find your age group!! Memory lane!)
Seven Terms That Summarize Generation Z’s Mindset by Tim Elmore
Apps Stirring Up Trouble in Schools by Caroline Knorr (Yikes!)
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/26201/when-storms-come?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=when_storms_come-2214110&utm_campaign=fp-08/31/2017-2214110
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69368/today-we-celebrate?utm_source=Christian%20Song%20Tracks%20(Final)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=today_celebrate-2215209&utm_campaign=fp-09/02/2017-2215209
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Great Leaders Live By Strong Convictions by Rick Warren

The real foundation of great leadership is character, not charisma. And one aspect of a leader’s character is the convictions to which he is deeply committed. Great leaders have strongly held beliefs. An opinion is something you’d argue about; a conviction is something you’d die for. Pastors, especially, must define the convictions for which they will endure every kind of hardship, and the only way to stand for those kinds of convictions is to live from a deep sense of God’s calling.

If God has called you to the task of leadership, nothing can stop you. Your identity rests in your relationship with him, not the approval of the people you are leading or the watching world around you. Instead of living in the comparison trap or the fear of what people will think, you must develop your convictions – theological, ethical, and practical – and stand by them.

Believe in advance that your convictions will be tested from at least eight angles:

1. Derision. When you’re in leadership, one of the first ways people will try to get you to deny your conviction is to make fun of you. Your convictions may very well be a punchline at times.

2. Discouragement. One of the enemy’s most powerful weapons is discouragement. Why? Because convictions, by their very nature, require courage to uphold. Discouragement usually comes at the halfway point when you’re halfway done with the project or halfway up the mountain.

3. Dread. Fear is one of the greatest threats to a leader’s convictions. I’ve often said, even when put on the spot by secular media personalities that I must fear God more than other people. It is to him alone that I will answer someday for how I stood by the deeply held beliefs he called me to possess.

4. Discord. Few things will stunt the growth of a movement or a church faster than gossip. One rumor or false accusation has the potential to destroy the reputation of a leader.

5. Division. It’s a big challenge for a leader to keep people together in a movement, but it’s essential. And since leadership is all about getting human beings to work together toward a common goal, this challenge is especially difficult for a leader to face.

6. Distractions. If the enemy can’t divide the people of a movement, he’ll provide distractions. Some of the distractions that cause the most problems aren’t bad things but rather good things that aren’t the best things.

7. Defamation. Paul was hounded by the Judaizers. Nehemiah had to deal with Sanballat. Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy. It’s the pioneers out front who are most likely to get shot in the back. It’s a side effect of an expanding influence.

8. Danger. The Bible never actually promised believers a life “safe and secure from all alarms.” On the contrary, those who lead and have a voice will also suffer persecution and encounter danger along the way.

The enemy will try to use all eight of these tactics to top you from leading. What do you do in the face of such opposition? Don’t give up! Hold onto your convictions. Be persistent. Endure. When you are committed to your convictions, nothing will cause you to quit. And a “no quit” attitude is an essential characteristic of any great leader.

Heart of a Champion (One of my favorites!)

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”                      (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) (NIV)

There is an old saying: Champions don’t become champions in the ring – they are merely recognized there. Boxing is a good analogy for leadership development because it is all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, he has to prepare and train to become successful.

One of the most famous quotes of President Theodore Roosevelt uses a boxing analogy: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause.”

09.25.17

14 Characteristics of Incredible Small Group Leaders by Chase Snyder

youthspecialties.com

SPIRITUALLY MATURE

What right do you have leading others to Jesus if you are not following Him?

Small group leaders must be spiritually mature. Does this mean they have to be perfect? Of course not! Maturity doesn’t mean you are perfect. Maturity in Jesus means that you are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus through spiritual disciplines. Spiritually immature people are incapable of being spiritual leaders. The great news is that we can all, by the grace of Jesus and application of spiritual disciplines, grow spiritually.

ATTENTIVE

Great small group leaders are attentive to the needs, spiritual conditions and personalities of the people that they are serving. It isn’t enough for a small group leader to know the bible study material – they must know the people they are serving.

TRANSPARENT

Transparency is essential to building relationships. A relationship is essential for discipleship. Every person in your small group doesn’t need to know every aspect of your life. Instead, they need to know that you are a real person with real struggles. Groups that are transparent are led by a leader who is transparent.

PATIENT

Small group leaders are not responsible to “fix” people. There are too many negative ways you can take that statement so I will move on. Some leaders become increasingly frustrated that the students in their group aren’t maturing as quickly as others. Be patient. People are different. People come from different backgrounds. People have different stories.

PERSON OF INTEGRITY

This one is a no-brainer. Leaders have integrity. Without integrity, you lose influence. Integrity comes from practicing what you preach, both publicly and privately.

ENCOURAGER

People are willing to follow someone who encourages them. Everyone feels inadequate in some areas of their spiritual life. Encouraging your small group can be as simple as praying, sending text messages or remembering to follow up with a question.

RELATIONAL

The love for people is an essential characteristic of great small group leaders. The best small group leaders are actively participating in other’s lives.  The best small group leaders are not the greatest Bible teachers – they are often the best relational leaders.

POSITIVE

I find it hard to read the Bible and walk away with a negative attitude. God has repeatedly done the impossible for His people. Small group leaders need to approach their groups with a positive attitude. After all, God promises to provide for His people – both spiritually and relationally.

SERVANT

Jesus’ life exemplified the power present when we assume the role of a servant leader. Your small group doesn’t exist to serve you, but for you to serve them.

AVAILABLE

The most encouraging person can still make for a bad small group leader if he is unavailable to his group. Time and energy are essential to disciple others. Small group leaders understand that at times they will sacrifice their schedule to minister to their group.

INTENTIONAL

Spiritual growth doesn’t appear magically. Growth takes intentionality. It is a small group leader’s responsibility to intentionally lead each person in his or her group.

EXPECTANT

Do you believe that your group members can do incredible things to build the Kingdom of God? Healthy expectations can spur growth more so than wordsmithing a perfect open-ended question.

Each Jesus follower has been given spiritual gifts and talents to leverage in their mission to share the Gospel. Great leaders help their people set healthy expectations and paint a picture of what God may have for them in the near future.

ENTHUSIASTIC

Enthusiasm is contagious. It is important for you to enjoy spending time with your small group. The leader is the one who sets the pace for this. If you dread attending small group meetings, your group will dread it as well. Add elements that will connect the team to one another and spark their enjoyment for life and Jesus.

FACILITATOR

Your small group is not a platform. Your small group is not your audience. Don’t lecture to them for an hour. Be a leader that facilitates conversation. Facilitators steer the conversation without controlling the conversation. Facilitation, when done well, incorporates strong Biblical teaching and ensures there are practical steps for each person to walk away with.

09.18.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do. #bonhoeffer
 
To focus on Jesus as just an example is to reduce him from sovereign Savior to ethical coach and to transform the gospel into law. #keller
 
Bad evangelism says: I’m right, you’re wrong, and I would love to tell you about it. #keller
 
The goal in life is not to be in charge, but to depend on and rest in the wisdom, power and grace of the One who is and will be in charge. #tripp
 
FYI:
1. Communicating with Teens… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/communicating-with-teens-2/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=8fa4ead912-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-8fa4ead912-126726953
 
2. Bad Fad Alert: Hot Water Challenge… https://homeword.com/2017/09/07/bad-fad-alert-hot-water-challenge/?mc_cid=9aeff038c4&mc_eid=759fd44a0d#.WbUwWK2ZN0s
Parents your role really matters… https://homeword.com/articles/parents-your-role-really-matters/?mc_cid=2784de0f84&mc_eid=759fd44a0d#.WbCRt62ZN0s
 
3. Loving your hard to like kid… https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/loving-your-hard-kid/
 
4. Crippling Behaviors That Keep Children from Growing into Leaders… https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/01/16/7-crippling-parenting-behaviors-that-keep-children-from-growing-into-leaders/#d1eec775957b
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
10 Steps on Giving Your Volunteers Feedback by Dale Hudson
Criticism vs. Feedback: Why You Must Know the Difference as a Leader by Dale Hudson
Understanding Teens and Their Smart Phone Habits (emarketer)
Is the Bible Relevant Today? by J. Warner Wallace
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/57201/our-stories
 
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69175/a-new-creation?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2208619&utm_campaign=nl-08/30/2017-2208619
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Bouncing Back

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. –Proverbs 25:11 (NLT)

As a junior in high school, I was devastated when I was cut from the top volleyball team and sent to the second team. I felt disappointed, embarrassed and dejected. That evening, I spoke with a friend who passed on these words of wisdom, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back that matters.” I wrote the quote on my mirror and committed to doing my best for this new team, instead of sulking over my personal loss. Instead of continuing to fall and spiral, I committed to bounce back.

What I learned that day is that what happens to me in life doesn’t count as much as how I react to those things. I had a choice the day I was cut from the team: I could wallow in misery and quit the team, or I could choose to fight through my circumstances and work hard to improve. Each day, choices like these present themselves. When people are cruel, I can choose to accept their apology or let my bitterness grow. When I am treated unfairly, I can vengefully plot a way to get even, or I can seek the Lord’s wisdom and demonstrate patience as He shows me what to do. When I am fired from a job, I can learn from why things did not work or I can blame everyone else around me for my misfortune and never learn, grow or change. When I am congratulated for a job well done, I can either pat myself on the back or thank the Lord for providing me with the skills to succeed.

Life throws different circumstances our way every day, both good and bad. Wherever you are in your life, it is important to remember that people are watching and looking to see how you are living your life. You will long be remembered, not only for what happened to you in your life but for how you handled life’s circumstances. When those circumstances cause you to fall, I challenge you to bounce back!

TAKE A MOMENT (Anonymous)

Recently I took a few moments to reflect on Psalm 139.  The following is my personal, devotional paraphrase of the Psalm that I wrote as in response to that reflection.

Here is my Psalm 139 paraphrase …..

You know my heart – You have searched me – You have gone the distance –taken the initiative – and therefore You know me.

You know what I think–You know what motivates me to action and contemplation because You know my every thought.

You know what I do – what my habits are – You are very familiar with my ways – the ways in which I move through life – from my active and social times to my quiet, somber and restful times – You know me well enough to discern my every habit.  You know me better than I know myself!

You know what I will say – all of it – before I even say it – every word of it!

Even though You know me – You love me.  I know this because Your hand of love and protection surrounds and covers me – You know everything about me – heart, mind, body and soul and yet You still love me that much.

I don’t get it.  This concept is impossible for me to grasp.

I don’t know if I can take so close a relationship – it scares me – I want to hide – but there is no place to hide from You. There is nowhere in the highest heavens or the lowest depths to hide – You are everywhere.

I can’t get up early and try to fly away.  It doesn’t matter how far I travel.  It doesn’t matter where or when I go anywhere.  You will still be there with me, guiding me, holding me tightly.

I can’t use darkness as a cloak – the light of Your presence just melts the darkness away.  You will still see all of me – my heart, my thoughts, my actions, my words.  And I will still be the object of Your love.

You made me – I am Your creation – not some random grouping of cells and DNA – I have a soul – an innermost being – that only You could make –  You gave me my mother – I am no one else’s daughter – I came from her because you placed me – heart, mind, body and soul – within her.

I am unique – tenderly planted and watered from conception – created as others, yet different from them all – I am Your wonderful work – from the depths of my soul, I know that.  I know that I am Yours and for that reason alone I am wonderful.  What a wonderful thing You have done!

I am in Your book.  Somewhere in Your book there is a chapter about me – written when I was only a thought in Your mind’s eye.  You knew what I would look like – I was not a surprise or a secret to You – You thought of me, wrote of me, planned my days for me – and then you knit me together like a perfectly fitting garment – exactly matching the vision You had of and for me.

You are always thinking precious thoughts about me.  Not negative thoughts.  Not thoughts of disappointment.  Not thoughts of anger.  Just precious thoughts!

You never stop thinking about me.  You think more about me that I do!  Even when I am sound asleep, resting my mind – You are still thinking about me.  I couldn’t even begin to count the thoughts you have of me.  There are not enough numbers!

You are so grand.  And, You are so good.  You are the creator who knows everything.  You write it all down in Your book. You can do all of this – so why don’t You stop evil?  I am the object of Your love – why don’t You keep evil away from me? Why did You include those stories in the pages of Your book? They are Your enemies.  They intend to harm You.  They lie about You – hate You – speak lies in Your name.

I hate them!  I abhor them!  They are my sworn enemies – all I feel for them is hated.  They hate You so I hate them.

I wonder what You think of them?  You created them too. Are they the objects of Your love?  Do You love them in spite of their failings – as you do me?  Must I love what You love? Must I love an enemy?  This kind of thinking makes me anxious.

I want you to search deeper inside me.  No more trying to run and hide.  I want You to know my heart – I want You to examine every part of me.  Examine these disquieting thoughts I have.  If my way of thinking and being is taking me in the wrong direction, lead me in the right one – always lead me in the right way.  May I live my days – heart, mind, body and spirit according to the vision You had for me – the one You wrote in Your book.

Blessings, Kendall